de Campian adj.

of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of L. Sprague de Camp

SF Criticism

  • 1941 A. Widner Letter in Fantasia (#3) July 23 page image Arthur L. Widner, Jr.

    Man the Space-Rockets: 80. De Campian logic—interesting if true...

  • 1941 I. Asimov Lest Darkness Fall in Astonishing Stories Sept. 6/1 (review) page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    With the Dark Ages about to fall, with Italy about to be ruined by the successive invastions of the Byzantines and the Lombards, it is up to Padway to save his own skin and to prevent Darkness from falling. Just how he does this is told in the best deCampian style, so well known to readers of fantasy. The book moves quickly, with no pauses for breath, but nowhere does Mr. de Camp lose his reader. In fluent, racy fashion, with liberal sprinklings of humor—quite often, delightfully ribald—he leaps from incident to incident.

  • 1942 L. Goldstone Who Threw the Overalls in Uncle Adolf’s Wodka? 1 page image Lou Goldstone

    The Finance Committee lamely laments that goats are needed, and therefore the most active fans (evidently meaning those publishing and contributing to fan-mags) are the logical candidates. Oh Yeah? If that’s logic, it’s the de Campian variety.

  • 1954 G. Conklin Galaxy’s 5 Star Shelf in Galaxy Science Fiction Nov. 122/1 page image Groff Conklin bibliography

    [T]his is a cops-and-robbers adventure on a planet whose natives are still in a pre-industrial stage of development. It involves a hunt for the runaway daughter of a rich Levantine (Earthian) who has eloped to said planet with a typical de Campian adventurer named Fallon.

  • 1963 P. S. Miller Hand of Zei in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction Aug. 89/3 (review) page image P. Schuyler Miller bibliography

    Where Burroughs’ heroes were more muscular than smart, and relied heavily on the fact that a Good Guy will always come out on top in a tussle with a Bad Guy, de Campian heroes have muscles but are often too modest to use them, treat their crises more as acrostics than as brawls, and are apt to be startled if a door breaks down when they put a shoulder to it and shove.

  • 1973 L. Carter Imaginary Worlds ix. 187 page image Lin Carter bibliography

    He [sc. Robert E. Howard] also understood the de Campian notion of strengthening the illusion of a genuine historical context by the use of cross-references between stories: the same ballad, ‘The Road of Kings,’ is used epigraphically in another Conan story, ‘The Scarlet Citadel,’ as are some Aquilonian proverbs and a marching-song sung by the Bossonian Archers.

  • 1977 R. Lupoff Lupoff's Book Week in Algol Summer–Fall 54/1 page image Richard A. Lupoff bibliography

    Alan Garner gives the fascinating story of his own mental set and the interrelationship between his emotional state and his creative work. In the process, he comes head-on into opposition with the de Campian notion that neurosis equals creativity, and the greater the neurosis the greater the creativity.

  • 1990 D. Schweitzer Mene... Mene... Tekel... in Aboriginal Science Fiction Sept.–Oct. 30/2 page image Darrell Schweitzer bibliography

    Our hero finds himself inhabiting the body of a bishop and caught up in the politics of this new world. Like any de Campian protagonist he is tough, inventive, cheerful, a regular guy only a lot smarter, and he makes the best of things.

  • 2001 R. Silverberg Last of Golden Age Warriors in Asimov’s Science Fiction May 6/1 page image Robert Silverberg bibliography

    Though a host of great work was done during the amazing Golden Age period, the main players were Heinlein, Asimov, van Vogt, and de Camp. [...] And through it all, Sprague de Camp won a large and enthusiastic readership with a multitude of stories marked by high erudition and a wry comic sense, stories so characteristically de Campian that one could identify his hand after reading only a paragraph or two.

Research requirements

antedating 1941

Earliest cite

Art Widner, Jr., in a letter to Fantasia

Research History
Suggested, and most cites submitted, by Bee Ostrowsky.

Last modified 2022-12-01 15:53:06
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.